Wednesday, December 27, 2006

24 Hours In Spain

After a fantastic, relaxing five days with my family, I arrived back in Barcelona this morning, surprisingly non-jetlagged. My flights were a bit screwy yesterday due to crazy weather all along the eastern US, but the craziest thing of the day was learning that somehow my Delta SkyMiles account had magically been transferred to my sister's name sometime in the last week. So all those thousands of miles I've flown with Delta, Continental, Alitalia in the last 18 months (and I think we're taking about 200,000 here, folks) have all been credited to my sister! Needless to say, she's psyched. I'm bummed. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be resolved in about 8-12 months.

Anyway it was a beautiful day in Barcelona today, though I spent most of it doing laundry and preparing for Phase II of my holiday travel plans: Operation Santa Claus. Yes, we are off to Lapland bright and early tomorrow morning. Twelve hours and three flights after departing Barcelona, Atsh, Marc, and I will arrive in Rovaniemi, Finland where we'll meet up with George and check into our hotel. The next day we meet up with the rest of the crew and take a long bus ride further north to Juha's house up in the Arctic Circle. I'm not joking. And I can't wait.

Not too sure about internet access up there, so my posts in the coming week will be sporadic at best, but I do promise plenty of cool photos and wild stories when I return. In the meantime... HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! All the best for 2007.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays!

For me, the holidays are all about family, so I feel extremely lucky to have been able spend the last few days here in Florida, where my grandparents spend half of the year. I flew in from Barcelona, my sister flew down from Philadelphia, and my parents flew from San Diego. So even though we're not at home and we don't have a big tree with lights or loads of wrapped presents, it still feels pretty darn Christmas-y. My cheesy Christmas playlist on iTunes certainly helps too.

Hoping you are all spending the holiday season with loved ones! Happy holidays from Flaaahrida.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

It wouldn't be the holidays without a crazy travel post... and anyway I realized this morning that I've done a lot of traveling in the past few months without a single bizarre story or photo of weinerschnitzel, and for that, my friends, I apologize.

One way I amuse myself during long trips, and particularly international ones, is by pretending I'm an international superspy, cruising around wearing a leather jacket and dark glasses, jetting off to strange and intriguing foreign locations like... Ft. Myers. Okay well that one doesn't work so much. But Lapland next week certainly will. Anyway, I notice that my senses seem to be heightened when I'm in airports and I really do feel like an intelligence officer. Or a counterintelligence officer. Or a pseudocounterintelligence officer. Or maybe just a counter officer. Maybe it's that weird cabin pressure, or maybe it's my overactive imagination. Either way, it keeps me entertained during those fleeting moments when I'm not passed out and drooling in my seat.

But I'm way ahead of myself already. Wednesday night brought the annual Christmas Ball and with it this year's theme: The Roaring 20s. While I can't say I wore anything particularly timely (do fishnets count?), some people really did go all out.

Like Ana...

And Rhijn...

And as always, there's nothing like the end of exams, an open bar, and a dance floor to really get people to let loose. And let loose we did. Somewhere along the way a tiara was put on my head (wow thanks everyone!) and, next thing I knew and against my better judgment, I was belting out "Danke Schoen" while dancing with King Tammy. (Which brings me to a very important point. Far too few people outside of the U.S. and A. have ever seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and this needs to be remedied, starting with a January screening at IESE.) When the lights came on at 3am, we all paraded down the block to Ribelino's in our ridiculous get-ups and partied like it was 1929.

With Monica, Ian, Cornelia, Nani, Juan, Sara, and a banana

With Ralph

All girls like tiaras. Even Francis!

But all good things must end and that includes Christmas Balls, unfortunately. I still had packing to do, which I proceeded to finish between getting home (whenever THAT was) and hopping into a taxi at 8. Mercifully for those who would sit near me on the plane, I managed a shower as well.

I slept in the taxi. Then I slept at the airport. Then I slept the entire 9 hours to Newark. We were an hour late so I ran through customs, rechecked my bags, ran to my next gate, got on the plane, and fell asleep again, all the way to Florida, despite being literally surrounded by screaming babies. I hung out with my family for a bit and then fell asleep again. I guess even superspies get tired.

Friday, December 22, 2006

School's Out For Winter

I am sitting in a hotel in Florida spending "quality time" with my parents while we wait for my sister's flight to arrive. Quality time in this family means... "wow, free wireless!" So we are all on our respective laptops messing around. Ahhh Christmas.

But now, after flying all day (and sleeping most of that time) I am ready to crash. This time in to a real bed instead of an airplane seat. How exciting.

Tomorrow hopefully I will have more energy to tell tall tales of last night's Christmas Ball...

Woo hoo! Vacation!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Exams over!

Or actually, I should say "exam's over" since I only had one. What a nice change from last year when we had 6 over three days. Of course, exams are replaced by papers and projects in the second year, but as a person who isn't the best test-taker in the world, I'd give a presentation or write a paper any day, given the choice. I studied quite a bit for this exam (applied international economics) and still I'm totally confused because it always seems that everything can be argued any way you want. Maybe that's the point...

So now all that remains of the term is to finalize a paper I'm writing with two other people for a marketing class, have a farewell lunch with the exchange students, take some photos, do a bit of Christmas shopping, and attend the Christmas Ball. Oh and clean up the masses of paper I've accumulated in the form of cases thrown around my room. Last year I was much more organized...

Congrats to the first year students who now have the Decision Analysis exam out of the way. Now you only have accounting and marketing to get through and the toughest term will be behind you!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday Night Special

So classes are officially over. I've been trying to think back on this term and what I did and whether I got as much out of it as I could have, and at first I couldn't remember anything. So I got annoyed at myself, thinking I should have done more. Then I remembered... oh yeah, there was the Bar Crawl. And the Random Dinner. I went to Amsterdam. And New York. And Milan. My sister was here. And my parents. And I saw my uncle, too. I read every case and I even remember a few of them. I climbed a mountain. I played in a band. MC'd the Thanksgiving dinner. I played soccer and rugby. I admitted to my parents that I'm having a torrid love affair with Lola, my scooter. They were understanding.

I learned how to write a business plan and how to put together an advertising campaign. I came up with a business idea of my own and plan to get it rolling in the new year. I spent quality time with old friends and with others that I hadn't had the opportunity to know before. I did pretty well in some interviews and was asked back for more. I learned more than I currently realize.

And I kept writing the blog. All in all, not a bad three months.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Countdown to the last term

At this time last year, I was preparing for three final exams (Accounting, Decision Analysis, and Marketing) and wondering if I'd survive the last week of the first term. My head was spinning because I'd filled it with too much information and yet I felt like I didn't know anything at all. But I made it through (more or less), went on vacation, and really didn't feel like coming back to IESE. In fact, there was a moment (okay, several moments) where I thought it would be great to just stay in the US and pretend IESE had never existed.

But I'm really bad at giving up on things, so I came back to Barcelona, refreshed and ready for more overwhelming case studies. It's funny how that first term seemed as long as the next two combined. The next six months flew by and suddenly it was summer. I remember thinking then, wow a whole summer in Romania... this will never end! But it did. And fast.

And now, here I am, about to have my last two classes of the first term of the second year. Today I finished five courses: Entrepreneurship, Applied Economics, Marketing of Media and Ideas, Logistics, and New Product Development. I've already completed the course requirements for three of those five. And tomorrow and Friday I have only Brands and Advertising and Personalidad del Executivo. I've already completed my final project for both of those as well. So now I have only three more classes to attend, a paper to write, and a final exam to take. By Monday at noon, I'll be done and on my way to my last term of the MBA. How strange. My professors were really fantastic this term, so thank you to Julia, Jose Luis, Josep, Pedro, Fede, Victor, Joan, and Xavier.

Plans for the next term? Get as much out of it as I possibly can. Enjoy every moment. And I won't waste a second on things that don't really matter. Life is just too short, and so is the MBA.

(By the way, I'm glad I came back after Christmas! Good thing I don't like to throw in the towel!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Non Sequitor

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be at JFK waiting for my flight to Barcelona while CBS was broadcasting the game between the Denver Broncos and my team, the San Diego Chargers. This was the first football game I've had the opportunity to watch this season, and it was a good one because we won 48-20 (bringing our record to 11-2!!!!), clinched the division, AND our running back LaDainian Tomlinson broke the single-season NFL touchdown record.

LT runs for the record. (Photo courtesy ESPN.)

Being a San Diego sports fan is a labor of love. Our baseball team, the Padres, have until recently been saddled with notoriously ugly uniforms (leading them to be nicknamed the Tacos) and an even more notoriously ugly win-loss record. During my second year in New York, they shockingly made it to the World Series, only to be shut out by the Yankees in four straight games. Ouch. Now we have a cool new baseball stadium and a slightly better record, but still managed to perform dismally in the playoffs. And still, I am a faithful supporter.

Our basketball team, the Clippers, left us for LA when I was a kid. I'm still bitter, even though I don't actually remember it happening.

Our football team, the Chargers, are often basement-dwellers, though the last couple of seasons have been a bit brighter. And this year we are boasting a team the likes of which San Diego hasn't seen since the Dan Fouts / Kellen Winslow days of the early 80s. If they make the Superbowl (heck, if they make the playoffs) I will gladly forgo Sunday night sleep to watch them play wherever it may be possible to see an American football game here in Barcelona. Have faith, will travel.

Friday, December 08, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's a beautiful, sunny, unbelievably cold December 8 in Manhattan. Very different from the San Diego weather I found 28 years ago when I decided to join the world. The wind is blowing (hard!), the sun is shining, the thermometers read 27 but it feels like 2, I just had breakfast with one of my best friends, and now I'm about to do some serious shopping with another. Fun little party planned on the Lower East Side, my sister is rolling into town from Philly, my old roommate is coming down from Rhode Island, the IESE boys from Columbia and NYU will be in effect... should be a great day all around!

And I just found out that Caio, a first year IESE student who has been a faithful reader of this blog and who was also a guest at our Random Dinner a few weeks back, is ALSO turning 28 today. So happy birthday Caio!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My New Toy

A birthday present, a few days early, from my parents. Aren't they the best?

My interviews went moderately okay today. Well, actually they were fine, but I'm used to walking out of an interview feeling totally confident and today I just didn't. But it's okay. If it's meant to work out, then it will, and either way I'll know by Friday.

Tomorrow I have another interview, this time over the phone, and Thursday a few more, just to make things fun and exciting. By the time Thursday night rolls around, I will be more than ready to hit my favorite 80s dance-till-you-drop spot, Don Hills, and ring in the start of my 28th (gasp!) birthday at midnight. The beat don't stop till the break o' dawn!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New York, New York

Back in the Big Apple, where the weather is frosty and the Christmas lights are in full effect! It's great to be back here, but it reminds me that the MBA will soon be over ... What happens if I move back to NYC? Will I go back to life as if I'd never left it? When I think about it that way, this seems like an awfully small island...

Anyway, my first interview is at 11:30 today so I'll spend the next four hours getting ready for that, and by 1pm I'll be back to normal clothes and off to buy a new camera. So if you happen to be reading this around 11:30 EST, send good interview vibes!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


If there's anything at all to be said for getting sick (and let's be honest, there really isn't much), it's the sheer joy that comes with finally feeling better. Whenever I'm sick, I always think, "wow, it will be SO AWESOME when I feel normal again." And it's true! Isn't life simple? All you need is a little barf to remind you that, really, things aren't so bad.

And waking up on a December morning to a day like this doesn't hurt either:

Tomorrow I'm off to New York for interviews. Fortunately, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are all holidays here so I will only miss two days of class. Unfortunately, this means I won't be throwing another massive birthday party here in BCN for 400 of my closest MBA friends. But hey, I spent 9 birthdays in NYC, so I'm sure I'll find a way to enjoy a 10th there just fine. Fuggheddaboudit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Nothing tops sickness when it comes to slowing down a headless chicken or ruining a good mood. Yesterday around 5, as Brand class was coming to a close and the presentations of our final projects were winding down, I started to feel extremely ill. My stomach had been acting a little funny early in the morning, but I just chalked that up to the late night gorging I'd done with Chris the night before, and anyway I was feeling fine by lunchtime.

Hmmm lunchtime. Maybe it was the chicken I had for lunch that did it. That's what I was blaming last night as I had to miss my last soccer match and various other entertaining activities for a date with my bathroom. But today, though at least I'm able to get out of bed and move around, I'm still not feeling well. My muscles ache and my stomach growls angrily at the mere thought of food. I think it's the flu.

Stupid flu. Why can't it ever come at a more appropriate time? Like.... NEVER.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Headless Chicken

As the end of the fall term nears, the workload mounts. Wait, that's a lie. The workload has always been there. We have just chosen to ignore it for as long as possible. Because really, who feels like doing a paper that's due in 2 months when you have cases to read for the next day? Organized and forward-thinking people, I suppose...

Anyway, now comes crunch time. And what could be a better way to add pressure than to have interviews in New York in the midst of it all? Fortunately I function better (and faster) under pressure, so maybe this little NYC jaunt is just the kick in the pants I need to get everything done in time.

One thing I simply cannot do, regardless of how much work or pressure there is, is to put my extracurricular activities on hold. And, as such, I have continued to play soccer a few times a week, as well as rugby on Thursdays, and to play with the band whenever we're all able to make it happen. Without that, I wouldn't be able to function at all, and I realized long long ago that spending an hour kicking a soccer ball around makes me much more productive than spending that same hour thinking about how much work I have to do without actually doing anything.

And now I realize... hmmm here I am procrastinating again. Writing a blog entry about proctrastinating in order to put off my work even more. Fantastic! I am a procrastination genius! I should win a prize.

Monday, November 27, 2006

An IESE Thanksgiving

Last night was the 18th annual IESE Thanksgiving, organized this year by Lindy and Abe, and attended by some 160 faculty members and students. Chris and I cohosted, which was interesting because the dinner started at 7pm and at 6:45 we were just starting to figure out what to say. Nevermind! It went fine.

After dinner, the talent show started, and we debuted our band, The Rhythm Method, with our rendition of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I've been told this video doesn't do our performance justice.... so you'll just have to imagine we sounded even better!

We were followed by some other impressive and hilarious acts, like a group of first year guys who sang a few Spanish songs (and got the crowd singing along), and a hilarious skit about cultural differences written by Noshaba. Then we closed the show with our rendition of "I Will Survive."

But the fun wasn't over yet because David and Kyle then started their portion of the program. They were the hosts of an auction to raise money for charity, and produced some of the most hilarious ad-libbed one-liners I've ever heard. Anyway, I don't know if it was our fabulous auctioneers, the spirit of Thanksgiving, or the influence of the all-included wine, but we managed to raise twice as much money as last year: a whopping 18,000 euro.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Since returning from Milan, I hit the ground running and have barely stopped to breathe. An hour after arriving home Sunday night, I was off to practice with the band at our rehearsal space in Poblenou . We were a bit disappointed to learn that we wouldn't be able to have the necessary equipment arranged by the school and thought we wouldn't be able to play at the annual Thanksgiving dinner/auction/talent show extravaganza, of which I also happen to be co-MC. But where there's a will there's a way and just 24 hours later we learned we'd not only be able to get the equipment (speakers, amps, etc.) but we were requested to do not one song but two. Which meant finding and learning another song... fast.

Monday, Tuesday, and today have been insanely busy. Class from 8am to 5pm... five classes in a row really takes it out of me. Monday night I had my phone inteview, which went well enough to grant me a second round interview in NYC in two weeks. (Sweet!) Yesterday I played soccer after class, and today I went straight from class to another rehearsal with the band. Our second song now rocks just as hard as the first one. My parents arrived tonight so I took them to Cerveceria Catalana - probably THE most touristy place you can go for dinner and still get fantastic food. Delish.

Tomorrow and Friday I'm fortunate to have only two classes, but of course there's also rugby practice, a football match, Thanksgiving dinner, my mom speaking at IESE (she rocks), and ... well... then it's Saturday! Somewhere in the next few weeks amongst all these extra-curricular activities I need to also find time to write all my final papers, whose deadlines currently seem somewhere in the distant future, but which will come due much sooner than any of us could possibly expect. This is the life of a second year student! It rules!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Girls Gone Wild (Milan Edition)

So it has been a very busy week. After a fabulously entertaining Random Dinner (where second year students host first years for dinner) on Thursday night, we were off to Milan on Friday for the first annual "MBA World League" tournament, hosted by Bocconi. Technically, this was the same event we played in last year, but with more sports (volleyball and basketball in addition to soccer), more participants, fancier uniforms for our soccer team, and a bigger logistical headache for our hosts.

We arrived in Milan Friday night without much hassle or delay (on Alitalia! imagine!) and were greeted by this beautiful sign at Linate airport. Maybe it's just me, but I think that if you decide to post a neon sign at an international airport, it might be a good idea to look into all the possible implications of your company name...

At any rate, I was too exhausted to do anything aside from crash Friday night, which meant that getting up at 7 Saturday morning to get breakfast and catch the bus for the sports complex wasn't quite as bad as it could have been.

We played back-to-back matches without a goalkeeper (Gemma valiantly stood in for the first half of each match and I took over for part of the second half) and managed to shut out the competition, defeating Bocconi 8-0 and London Business School 6-0. I don't think I will ever again have the opportunity to score 12 goals over two matches, or to score one while wearing keeper gloves, so please forgive me for enjoying it for one little blog entry. Normal self-deprecation will resume in one sentence.

Behold, the fabulous ladies of IESE: Cary, Gemma, Carol, moi, Anna, and Teresa. And muchas gracias to BBVA for our sweet uniforms!

I refereed the last match between Bocconi and LBS and then it was time to relax and cheer our basketball, volleyball, and mens' football teams on. Sadly, the others didn't have the same luck we did, but everyone managed to have a fantastic time.

After our day of sports, we were off to a molto tasty buffet dinner, where mingled with other students and I met Paolo, a fellow blogger from Bocconi. It's funny to walk by a complete stranger and be greeted by name. Ah, celebrity. I suppose I'll have to find a way to deal with it!

Unfortunately I couldn't chat with Paolo for long because we were presented moments later with our first place trophy and I was also given a very unexpected MVP award. As Borat would say, "High Five!"

The ladies and our cup

To which we quickly became very attached...

With the ladies of LBS

Feigning humility...

I learned a very important lesson that night: Be very careful when you give a shiny cup to a group of girls. We get completely out of control! We spent the following 30 minutes in a corner of the room cherishing our new friend - kissing it, taking pictures with it, drinking from it... not to mention singing IESE songs and chanting each others' names. Only slightly ridiculous.

Our love affair with our trophy soon came to an end however, because it was time to head to Old Fashioned for the official event party and some serious dancing. All of which is much easier to do (and more fun) when you know you don't have to get up early in the morning to play more sports. Woo hoo!

A bonus side note... I returned home to learn I have an interview (in 3 hours!!!) that I am VERY psyched about. Sweet! So now I must refrain from futher blogging in order to prepare. But coming soon... some important insight into Italian airport security.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jack Ruby Tuesday

Last night was the inaugural Cigar & Whiskey club meeting at a top-secret location. Okay, it was at Ian's house. He didn't even give us a password or a secret handshake! And what's worse is that I missed it, but not without a good excuse. Ali and Marc both celebrated their birthdays last night and invited us to a killer dinner.

But the point of even mentioning all of this? Right. So aside from the rather obvious "cigar" and "whiskey" elements of the aforementioned club, there also exists an oratory factor. Yes, members must be prepared to get up and give a speech on a pre-selected topic chosen by the God of the club, Ian himself. Last night's topic? Your favorite political assasin.

Naturally, I chose Jack Ruby. Why? Well, he was the first person that came to mind. And then I started thinking about how he really screwed it up for everyone by killing Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself already implicated in the assasination of JFK only 48 hours prior. So that's like a double assasination. And considering that the ill-fated date of 11/22 is just a week away, the timing seemed eerily right. So yeah, I never got around to giving a speech, but I tell ya... it woulda been good!

But the REAL point of mentioning all of this? An amazing photo I came across while researching ol' Jack Ruby last night. Most people - or at least most Americans - are familiar with this famous photo of Jack shooting Lee Harvey while he was being led to a bus headed for maximum security prison. (And again I ask... how did the photographer happen to capture that moment? Surely he was involved. I think he was the additional gunman on the grassy knoll. Maybe someone should look into this.)

Well the thing is, I've often wondered why we can't just solve global problems with a dance-off. For instance, Dubya and Osama go head to head breakdancing or doing the Macarena. Or better yet, ballet! Or even whole countries could battle it out on the dance floor.

Another option? A singing contest. Which is exactly how Jack and Lee Harvey could've settled their dispute.

(Thanks to Canned Revolution for the image)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Personality Order

One of the cool things about the 2nd year class "La Personalidad del Executivo" (The Executive Personality) is that you get to take the MMPI-2 - the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Try saying that three times fast.

We took the "test" (officially, it's not a test - whatever) on the second day of class and I received my results today.

Yes, it appears that I am perfect. The ideal human specimen. Completely balanced emotionally, able to take criticism, clear in thought, flexible and tolerant, and with great self-control and zest for life, among other exceptional qualities.

Oh, and I display a few characteristics of a narcissistic personality.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pots and Pans, Now Clap Your Hands

At 10pm I was minding my own business, furiously procrastinating at the dining room table (multitasking thanks to computers makes you LESS productive, not more) when I heard the sound of a lone pot being brutally beaten outside. I thought it was someone just trying to toss some old leftovers out, but then it was joined by a second, then a third...

Soon the whole neighborhood was a caucophony of pots and pans. I went out on the balcony, but it was hard to see the individual pot strikers. Many of them seemed to be from my own building, and others from buildings across the street. One by one, other neighbors joined in before I too decided I'd better grab something to hit.

I bypassed the decorative plate (too fragile) in our living room and also Atsh (too Japanese) and finally picked up a pan in the kitchen and proceeded to add to the ruckus from the balcony. How fun! Why are we doing this? I don't know! But it suddenly made all the fancy things I was doing on the computer seem unbelievably lame. We should do that every Monday night.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And now for something completely different

This week presented the usual cases, studying, professors, lunches, dinners, Bar of the Week, job applications, etc. Run-of-the-mill IESE fare.

But this week was special. Tuesday brought Halloween, but I was too exhausted to go out and anyway my Michael Jackson costume was sadly incomplete, and I'm an all-or-nothing Halloweener. So instead I prepped for Wednesday, a national holiday, and the day I had chosen to shoot a short movie I wrote back in August during a flight from Barcelona to Bucharest.

The original plan was to start shooting at 10 in order to avoid crowds at the sporting complex at Montjuic, but as most people were a little tired from the previous night's festivities, we ended up starting at noon. Only to find the track I wanted to use .... locked. So we jumped the fence. Why not? I've been held up at gunpoint by a SWAT team in Manhattan as a result of shooting a movie for film school on a rooftop (pre-9/11!) so I was pretty sure I could handle whatever the Guardia Urbana could dish out.

So five of us had made it over the fence by the time the woman who runs the place came over to tell us she was really sorry but we'd have to leave. In fairness, she was very nice to us and said she would let us stay but the guy who runs the bar next to the track would probably see us and call the police. Around that time, Juan, whose face was still painted red from the night before, said, "Why is the field locked today?" The woman replied, "It's a holiday." And red-faced Juan said, in all seriousness, "Well people like to do sports even on holidays." How that woman said she was sorry for our trouble without even cracking a smile, I will never know. At or around that time we decided Juan probably shouldn't be the spokesperson anymore.

Marc and Juan, moments before we got booted from the stadium

So our troupe moved on to the next location, further up the hill. A really crummy old track which wouldn't allow for some of the shots I had planned. But that was the least of our troubles. Our main actor had yet to make an appearance, and it was now 1pm. Two others hadn't shown yet either. So we got started and tried to make do, but finally the time had come. We needed Rafa, but he was proving difficult to track down. We bravely soldiered on without him and started rewriting the script as we went. So when Rafa finally turned up 15 minutes before this second location was to close at 2:30, we had already figured out how we could include him in the movie without even having to use any fancy CGI. Of course, we were so rushed and out of control, I'm not sure whether the footage can actually now be edited into a movie, but at least we spent three hours laughing and enjoying what turned out to be the last short-sleeves day we will likely have in BCN in 2006.

Max & the Italians make an entrance

Giving preliminary directions to my fabulous cast

The cast hits their marks


Don't worry, Atsh isn't really suffering. Much.

After such an incredibly artistic undertaking, I felt the need for more. Fortunately for me, an overwhelmed first year student had given up a ticket to see Mozart's Requiem at the Palau de la Musica that night, and I was the lucky recipient. An economist might call this the positive externality of pre-midterm stress. I just call it SWEEEEET. It was my first time to the Palau and within five minutes I had already figured out all the other concerts I'd like to attend in the coming year. The only danger in my concert-going is my tendency to play air violin, particularly during pieces I played in my symphony as a kid, so I think I was kind of annoying during the Marriage of Figaro overture. A negative externality. By the way, if you have never seen the Requiem performed live, as I hadn't, I highly recommend it. But don't go if you are opposed to getting goosebumps.

After hearing such incredible music on Wednesday, I was even more excited about what Thursday night would bring... The first rehearsal of the IESE band. Muktambar, Quentin, Rhijn and I spent two hours rocking out in a rehearsal space in Poblenou in preparation for our debut at the upcoming IESE Thanksgiving dinner. Stay tuned for tour dates. If you join our fanclub, you will get early access to sold-out shows and concert tees.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Amsterdam Weekend

One cool thing about the 2nd year is that you can just pick up and hop on a plane without the same amount of stress that would've accompanied such an adventure in the first year. Another cool thing is that you can meet up with old pals who have graduated from IESE.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 4am to catch my flight to Amsterdam, having gone to sleep just three hours earlier due to job applications and a phone interview. By 6am my plane was off and I was out cold, and two hours later we were landing in rainy Holland. Since my uncle wasn't to arrive until 1, Floris kindly offered to have me over for breakfast.

With Floris

We chatted and caught up and then took a stroll around his neighborhood, and before I knew it, it was time to head to the port where I was to meet my uncle's boat. I arrived laden down with about 20 pounds of stroopwafels, dropped off my stuff, and we were off for a guided tour of the city, first by bus and then by canal boat.

The river cruise boat

That evening we had dinner on the boat and then headed off for a tour of the red light district guided by the cruise director. I never thought I'd be strolling through the red light district with a gang of 90 septegenarians, but hey life is full of suprises. I had my own little cabin on the ship Saturday night and thank goodness for the extra hour of sleep because it was hard enough to get out of bed in the morning!

Red Light District
Sunday we went for a stroll and enjoyed the nicer weather. We met up with Floris again and went for coffee and then later for Indonesian food. Dinner was at Moeders for some traditional Dutch fare - very hearty meat and potatoes deal. Straight back to the airport after dinner, read two cases, stretched out and fell asleep, and before I knew it, I was back in Barcelona. More photos here.

It was great to get away on my own and spend some time with friends and family away from the IESE scene. Particularly since I had a 12 hour day at school today; the result of classes, lunchtime career presentations, and team meetings. Now it's late Monday night and I know I have another long day ahead, starting bright and early at 8am.... I guess it's time to get some sleep.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lookin' up

So it's 1am on a Friday night. My soccer team won... 10-0 or something. We lost count. The sun has been shining all week and the weather is warm. I just submitted two applications to Google, two days before the deadline. And in three hours I have to get up and head to the airport because I'm off to Amsterdam at 6am to hang out with my cool uncle.

So though it has been a bit of a roller-coaster of a week in some ways, as always, I know everything will fall into place. And at this time tomorrow I'll have a belly full of stroop waffels. That is NEVER a bad thing!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Career Daze

Six months left in the MBA, and I'm still not sure I made the right decision by pursuing the degree. Of course I've learned a lot, met wonderful people, and had a great experience. But in a few short months it'll all be over and I wonder if it will really get me where I want to go.

Unlike my classmates who want to become bankers and consultants, I want to return to the creative world. And the creative world doesn't really tend to have a use for MBAs. In fact, an MBA on your CV could actually do you more harm than good because suddenly you're "overqualified." I've been trying to come up with ways to marry my new business knowledge and my creative ideas, and I'm thinking more and more that starting my own business is the only way forward. But with so much cash sunk into the MBA, it seems a better idea to hold a steady job for a while first...

What would really kill me, though, would be to get into a company where there are creative types and business types and where I'm suddenly not seen as a creative anymore but instead hated by the creatives and seen as some sort of evil business villain. The MBA is supposed to open doors and create opportunities, but I'm concerned that in my case I'll just be pigeon-holed.

And so have run my thoughts for the past week. I'm trying to stay calm, relaxed, focused... it's only October. But it's a constant source of worry in the back of my mind. Maybe a weekend away is exactly what I need, though right now I feel like I'd like nothing more than to relax at home all weekend.

But I'm off to Amsterdam on Saturday morning to spend two days with my uncle, who is passing through on a vacation from California. We've spent several great weekends together in the past, talking all about life and living, and he's always full of insight. Hopefully Sunday night I'll return refreshed and full of new ideas and optimism.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Week That Was...

I have become a terrible blogger since the start of the second year. A whole week has passed without a post, which isn't to say nothing has happened. Au contraire. It has been quite an eventful week... classes, presentations, job possibilities, the bar crawl, the A6 dinner, and now the start of the Career Forum. But that's exactly the problem. No time for writing! I promise to improve on this, starting immediately.

George returned to Barcelona on Thursday, just in time for the Bar Crawl. Awesome to have one of the Calatrava Guapos returning to the nest. And speaking of the Bar Crawl... after much concern over first year turnout due to high stress levels, the Bar Crawl was just as successful as any. Everyone turned up decked out and ready to blow off some steam. First years dressed as superheroes, country clubbers, and 80s rockstars, while the exchange team paraded around as aliens. Each second year bar had a theme as well: pirates, punks, pimps, and pagent queens. The crawl ended with everyone meeting at Sol for the announcement of the winners, which no one heard, but it didn't matter really because by that point, all we wanted to do was dance until dawn, which is exactly what many of us did.

A second year judging team.

The rather dangerous (in hindsight) dizzy relay race game played in the pirate bar.

Members of the ever-more-impressive Section C, dressed as 80s rockstars.

Muktambar and I tally team points at the final destination.

Good thing we had calculators on our mobiles, because if Muktambar had to count on his fingers he would've been out of luck.

On Saturday night Atsh and Ayako cooked up an unbelievable feast, which was the perfect way to finish off a day of Bar Crawl recovery. Sunday was spent recovering from dinner and on Sunday evening we held the traditional A6 dinner here on our terrace because the weather was still warm enough for an early evening BBQ. A6ers of 2007 and 2008 united, though the 2nd year group was certainly decimated, with 3 members on exchange, one out of town, and one sick. Didn't make it any less fun though, and the new A6 group seems like it might carry on the tradition of being the only team still meeting (and talking to each other) on the very last day of class. Good luck guys!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The 2nd Year

Two and a half weeks into the 2nd year, and so far it's shaping up nicely. And it's true... it's NOTHING like the first year.

No more stress, except about extracurricular planning. No frantic attempts at in-class participation. No midterms! Shocking, but true. In fact, I don't think I'm even going to have any finals. We were supposed to have one, but the professor thought aloud in class that he didn't like the idea of grading 130 exams, so....

In place of all those things? For starters, the Bar Crawl is this Friday and I'm surprised by the lack of enthusiasm being shown by our friendly first years. Last year, in the midst of ABP papers and accounting homework, we managed to make a pretty outstanding showing at the bar crawl. This year's crew seems too stressed to even make a soccer practice, let alone a boozy, costume-laden Friday night extravaganza. Don't get me wrong... I did more than my fair share of stressing out last year, but it did not prevent me from getting on the march with my carefully sculpted mohawk. Hell, ANY excuse to avoid t-accounts! (My dishes, for instance, have never been so clean as they were in the first term.)

The clubs presentation is on Thursday, and fortunately for me and my meager PowerPoint skills, I only have to present the football club. Speaking of presentations... the second year seems to be all about presentations. This morning, Anna and I presented our business plan for entrepreneurship class. Tomorrow there's a big marketing presentation, and Thursday before the clubs presentation is a Google presentation.

Which brings me to another fun facet of the second year... the job hunt. While some people have already accepted offers based on their summer internships, others are starting the search from scratch. I'm following a few leads, but I'm fortunate in that the industries and companies I'd like to work for probably won't be anywhere near ready to hire me for several months. For some, this might be worrisome, but rather than be concerned, I'm just enjoying these last months of jobless freedom. Oh and learning as much as possible. After all, isn't that what the second year is for?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

IESE Number 1!

According to The Economist, anyway. For the second year in a row, we ranked first, ahead of Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg... Not too shabby!

Businessweek will announce their rankings at 11pm Spanish time, so perhaps there will be more exciting news to share later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Aneto Weekend

My apologies for my lax posting of late. I have been completely overwhelmed with classes and organizing Bar Crawls, soccer teams, trips, etc... You know, important things!

Saturday morning at 8:30am a group of nearly 40 IESE students met at school and hopped into a bus headed for Aneto, the highest peak in the Pyrenees. After several hours of sleeping and riding, we arrived at the town of Benasque to have some lunch and rent our crampons and ice axes.

Walking through Benasque in search of an open restaurant.

After driving for another hour or so, we arrived at the Refugio where we were to spend the night.

The map posted at the dining room of the refugio. We stayed at La Renclusa... Aneto is straight above, at 3404 meters.

After organizing our packs and eating dinner on Saturday night, we rolled into our bunks (yeah! bunk beds! woo hoo!) at 10:30... only to be awakened at 2:30. By 3am, we were dressed, headlamped, backpacked, and headed in the wrong direction.

What else is there to do when you've gone on the wrong trail at 3am but take a photo?! Here's our team, the Snot Rockets. We gave ourselves that name for a reason...

By 3:30am we were back on track and headed up the mountain. We climbed for several hours in darkness, the only light coming from our headlamps and the full moon. Aneto is basically a giant boulder field, so there was a lot of scrambling up and over rocks, scraping hands and knees, and stumbling.

Around 7:30am the sun started to appear. Here I am with Alex, still looking exhausted.

And with Greg shortly afterward

By 9am we were at the foot of the glacier, strapping on our crampons.

Worried we wouldn't make it to the summit due to time constraints, I ignored my burning legs and climbed as fast as I possibly could. Walking in crampons isn't easy. Walking in crampons uphill in blinding sunlight... well, let's just say it was kind of tiring. But completely exhilirating!

But we did finally make it to the top, and in record time.

Greg, Chris (on exchange from UCLA) and me, just before crossing "Puente de Muhammed," a narrow land bridge with a 200 meter drop on either side.

Making my way across the Puente, where I said, "If my mother saw me doing this she'd say, "NOELLE SADLER! Get down from there!"

At the very top, with Chris, Andreas, Bertrand, and Jatsek

Of course, the problem with climbing up a mountain is that you eventually have to go back down. So at 11am we were headed back to the Refugio, completely exhausted. On the way back we met up with some of our group members who hadn't crossed the glacier. While they were resting, they saw a climber fall the entire way down a sheer cliff up above them. They went to try to help, but when they reached him and took his pulse, he was dead. His friend and fellow climber had to sit and wait there with him while the emergency crew arrived by helicopter. It put a bit of a damper on our spirits and reminded us that you can't take anything for granted.

By 3:30 we finally arrived back at the refugio, sweaty and exhausted. My legs refused to cooperate with me any longer, and I was delighted to get back on our bus for the trip back to Barcelona. Now, three days later, my legs are still hurting, but it was worth it to summit my first mountain.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Here's wishing a very happy 25th birthday to my favorite sister. Wish we could celebrate together!

Then. Nicole, me, and my friend Annie Bananie

Now. Nicole, me, lots of sweaty people.